I’m a half marathoner!

I never thought these words would EVER come out of my mouth, but….

I’M A HALF MARATHONER!

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I can sum up my experience in just 4 words: what a crazy adventure!

For the most part, as far as distance goes, I was prepared for this race. I trained hard and long, supplemented my runs with strength workouts at Orangetheory, and made sure my emotional state was an “I can do this” mentality. 

What I wasn’t prepared for was the heat and humidity. Unfortunately from December through now, our weekends have been pretty cool- even somewhat chilly at times. So most of my training was done in colder temperatures- a problem I would soon face head on around mile 7!

But let’s start at the beginning…. race morning.

I didn’t sleep much the night before. My head was spinning, and I kept on thinking about the what ifs.

What if I don’t finish before the cutoff time?
What if I don’t finish at ALL?
What if I get hurt?

By the time I kept asking all of life’s big race questions I found myself springing out of bed, getting dressed, prepping a strawberry Shakeology, waking up the guy, and heading out the door. PS- It was the guy’s BIRTHDAY this same day. Who gets up at 4:00am to drive 60 miles away to watch their girlfriend run her first half marathon? My Brian does. And that makes him boyfriend of the year, fo real. 😉

The drive from Tampa to Sarasota was pretty fast, and before I knew it I was walking toward the start line. 

With 10 minutes left until start time, I needed to find a bathroom stat. The shake + a full glass of water went straight to my bladder! The port-o-let lines were long, but fast moving, and by 7:11, I was crossing under the start line. 

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It was pretty dark when we started, but as we approached mile 1 the sun began to rise. I was surprised at how quickly mile 1 went by! I felt GREAT. My legs felt strong, there was a cool breeze off the water, and I was holding onto a (comfortable for me) 14:00 pace. We went up and over the gigantic, dreaded Ringling Causeway Bridge and rounded through miles 2 and 3 around beautiful St. Armand’s Circle. 

photo-1-14238-20110922102956What I thought would be most difficult for me, turned out to be no big deal at all. My favorite part of the race was the first half- running next to the water, up and over the bridge and then through St. Armand’s and back over the bridge a 2nd time. The weather remained on the cool side and the breeze from the water was a nice treat!

Running through St. Armand's!

Running through St. Armand’s!

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Heading over the bridge!

As I headed toward the half way point, Brian came out to the road to cheer me on from the sidelines. 🙂

I passed the relay switch point, still maintaining a good pace at around a 14:40 min mile, passed through miles 7 and 8 (ate some delicious strawberries that a group was giving out!) and then really started to hit a big, hot, sun-blazing wall.

The 2nd half of the race isn’t as scenic as the first. It’s basically all open road along highway 41 from the half-way point through about mile 8. And that sun beating down on me, mixed with the heat from cars along the road did me in! When we turned to head back through the neighborhoods, I was happy to have some much needed shade!

Attempting to smile at mile 10.

Attempting to smile at mile 10.

I checked in with my chicas a few times (we have a Facebook chat that we all keep up with) and Brian giving them a few updates along the way. At mile 10 is where a bad case of the “I can’ts” began to set in. I sent B a text that said something along the lines of “I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it” and the chicas got an update to the tune of “I’m fading! I over it!” But with some much needed encouragement, they pushed me through mile 10, 11 and 12- which were my slowest out of the entire race. By mile 12 my feet were barely moving. I was SO hot. My feet were aching. My shoulders were sore and tight. I was ready to give up.

I sent Brian another text telling him I didn’t think I could make the last mile. And even though I kept telling myself “You just did 12 miles! You can do 1 more!”, I was ready to have him pick me up in the car just so I could sit. 

I wanted to sit SO badly. Every curb, park bench, house porch that passed, I was tempted to sit. But I didn’t.

As I approached the last .75 of the race, Brian met up with me to help me finish.

It was the perfect distraction. I complained, cursed, cried, and talked about the race all the way to the chute where I ran to the finish line (while he went and got the car-like I said, I was over it at this point!). I was so happy to see Nanci at the finish line cheering me on. She looked fantastic- and I’m sure I gave her a “What the hell did I just do” look. I had actually met up with her in the morning before the race as well, but I was so nervous (and mildly panicking) that I barely said 2 words to her- I just wanted to start and get going! (Sorry Nanci!) <3

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That’s my “holy crap I finished” face.

My clock time: 3:55!
My Chip/GPS time: 3:44!
Totally happy with that, no doubt. I finished under 4:00, and ultimately, that was the goal. To finish!

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So the big question is… will I do it again?

At the moment, absolutely NOT. This distance is NO joke. It was hard! So so so hard. But once the soreness subsides, maybe my mind will change. For now, I see a lot of 5 and 10ks in my future. 😉

The fact of the matter is, I did it. I earned my (huge!) race bling, and the rights to this baby on the back of my car…

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 -Steph 🙂 

7 thoughts on “I’m a half marathoner!

  1. Pingback: Double Race Weekend Recap – Part 2 – Sarasota Half Marathon | Tampa Mom Runs!

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